By Ally Filinski 

NICU - Neonatal Intensive Care Unit....... A place that never enters your mind.  We all see ICU on T.V. shows and movies, but never NICU.  The moment you walk through those doors, the smell of antibacterial cream hits you in the face, the noise of alarms start ringing in your ears, the water starts building up in your eyes, a million things start ticking over in your head and your voice just keeps repeating itself, this is a dream, where am I, what is going on, why is my baby in an incubator and not in my belly still.  Why WHY! The nurse starts talking to you and it becomes a mumble, your eyes are fixated on your baby.  You hear words like, Desats, Brady's, IV Lines, Incubation, Ventilation, Antibiotics,  and when she stops talking all I want to know is, is my baby going to live?

Isabelle was on CPAP for 17 days.  I would sit in her 2m x 2m zone, looking at her through an incubator and put my hand through the little doors and rest it on her nappy.  Telling her that she is perfect and that I wouldn't change it for anything and that she will get through this.  It may not be an easy road and the window is foggy, but we will get through this.  Everyday I told Isabelle, mummy and daddy love you and you're a strong little monkey and we will be taking you home soon.  I would sit there for what felt like seconds, but it would be hours.  Time has no meaning in NICU, as they need all the time to grow.  They dictate the rules, not you.  Thats why they are on the outside and not in utero.  We only spent 56 days in hospital, and Isabelle was 36+4 when we brought her home.  She weighed 2 lb 10oz at birth (1200g) and when we brought her home she was 5 lb 1oz (2400g).  She passed all hearing tests, eye tests, brain scans and was immunised just before discharge.  She is perfect, she is our Isabelle.

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